Since I first met you at the NSAA Convention in Melbourne a few years ago, I have marveled at the way in which you have built up the Beechworth Bakery and other businesses. Thank you for being such a wonderful inspiration.
I love reading your stories of how at the age of 6 years you decided that you had to be able to buy your own mattress. You immediately started working towards your goal which you achieved through being a hardworking entrepreneur. By then you knew how to succeed and have continued to build on that. Yes, we need to have purpose. And you have an excellent ability to combine purpose with your passion and thus achieve excellent outcomes.
I thought you’d be fascinated by this picture below:
In this photo taken yesterday in Pietermaritzburg, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Republic of South Africa, you’ll see:
- Nathi Mbhele, Save Hyper Bakery Manager
- Rashaad Solomon, Manager, Save Hyper
- Devan Moodley, Group Bakery Manager
They are talking to a group of Cordwalles Primary children and their teachers. This was part of an interactive workshop.
I’m sure you are already saying ‘I know where they got that idea’. And yes, you do. Your examples from Beechworth Bakery had a huge impact on the management team and staff and we are very grateful for that. During a ‘Sustainable Customer Service Strategy’ programme which I’m running with Save Hyper at present, spanning a period of 6 weeks, I showed them your video and they decided to follow your example of encouraging children to come into the bakery.
The group of children and teachers spent three hours at the bakery yesterday. As Rashaad Solomon, General Manager said, ‘This was a branding exercise and way of connecting to future customers.’ He also said: ‘I was so touched seeing the excitement and enthusiasm on the kiddie’s faces.’ After a productive and exciting morning, the children each took home a cupcake and loaf of bread. And as you mention in the video, Tom, those children are going to be reluctant to let their parents buy bread elsewhere!
So let’s look at just a few of the lessons we are learning through this example:
- Show appreciation. Our theme this week is ‘Show appreciation’ and all 300 staff have been asked to actively and sincerely tell customers that they appreciate them and the business they bring. They are working on this principle both at work and in their home situations. Each participant needs to apply the principle and ‘catch some-one doing something right’ in relation to showing appreciation. Next week staff need to come with examples of what they have seen and done during the last week. So, Tom, I’m setting the example by telling you how much I appreciate your ‘way of being’. The photo shows a concrete example of where you have impacted positively on others and I’m grateful to you.
- Passion fuels positive action. Your passion and actions are aligned. You have always worked incredibly hard in order to achieve your goals. The Save Hyper team is doing exactly that. They are following a path that generates enthusiasm. No wonderful they are the current Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB) ‘Business of the Year’.
- Having fun while we learn energises and this motivates us in all fields. In your video, your sense of fun is infectious. Save Hyper picked up on this and the staff, children, teachers and bystanders all had a great time yesterday.
- By building relationships we can recognise and optimise opportunities. There is a sense of trust and people take risks more easily where there are positive relationships. Yesterday’s session was the first the team at Save Hyper had held. Yet, together they could experiment and be pioneers in this field.
- We need to share our experiences and the ripple effect goes way beyond our boundaries. I shared your examples and showed your video to the management and staff of Save Hyper. Thus 300 people enthused over your positive approach and wonderful ideas. So, a promotional activity demonstrated by you in Victoria, Australia was repeated in KwaZulu-Natal, Republic of South Africa. And the outcomes were positive.
- It is important to recognise opportunities to promote our brands. The children each left with their cupcakes in the beautiful magenta and lime branded Save Hyper boxes. So there was follow-through from the experience and this cemented the memories. They had something tangible to take home as a reminder.
- Capitalise on the culture of the organisation. Save Hype is a nice place to be. The experience is great. And this reflects directly back on the way the Beechworth Bakery works. There is a similar culture of caring for each other and caring for our customers.
- Tom, as you know, one of my passions is networking. This involves connecting people with people, people with opportunities and people with information. So, by sustaining our relationship over the years, I was able to be the catalyst in indirectly connecting the Save Hyper team with you and your work. This enabled them to see opportunities. And then this helped to release their energy and creativity. And of course, there was a lot of hard work involved, too.
Tom, no geographic boundary can contain your enthusiasm. Your influence has overflowed and we are reaping the benefits here in South Africa. I do hope it won’t be long before you visit again? I’ll be in Sydney in November and perhaps I can ‘catch up’ with you and Christine then?
Warm wishes and thanks,